Communication and Privacy ☎?

At Last! Google Refreshes Voice
“I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work, and so I called him at home,
and he emailed me . . so I texted him. . and now you have to go around
checking all these different portals just to get rejected
by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”

------Drew Barrymore’s character
in He’s Just Not That Into You

If you’re frustrated by communication fragmentation, you’ll understand the appeal of unified messaging. When Google Voice launched back in 2009*, it seemed like the solution: a single phone number that rings any and all your phones when you want, records voicemail, transcribes it, and notifies you by email or text.  No more checking multiple places for messages. No more leaving messages all over for someone.  Plus many other features. All FREE.

And then for five years, as they have with other products, Google appeared to lose interest. So it is a huge relief to see that they have FINALLY given Voice a beautiful update for both iOS and Android. More here.

News Flash
Speaking of news: Amazon Prime subscribers, don’t forget your membership includes six free months of digital access to the Washington Post, a “must-read for political nerds.” (And who isn’t, these days?).  
If you’re not paranoid yet. . .
Don’t miss this article about how to remove yourself from the free public database of genealogy site  Yikes. 
 Also, a big shout-out to our hometown NPR station, WNYC, for their excellent series on digital privacy, The Privacy Paradox.  Worth a listen.

Yahoo! alternatives
A billion Yahoo! email accounts were compromised, and Yahoo! failed to alert users for a long, long time.  Not the first time. If you’ve been thinking about a switch, but it seems too hard, be aware:
  • You don’t have to risk missing emails to the old address or send an email to everyone you know; just set up forwarding (“push”) or fetching (“pull”) of the old address to the new one.  

What are the alternatives? We’re big fans of Gmail, but not everyone finds their approach comfortable. Microsoft has vastly improved Outlook (formerly Hotmail) lately, and it’s worth a look, particularly for business users.  Just be sure to turn on two-factor authentication for any email address you use.
*Based on technology developed by a company Google acquired, GrandCentral.

Happy (early) Valentine's Day! 

Alison Holtzschue
and the computers dot mom team